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required, Dr. Colenso observes, "What a prodigious number of trained men would be needed to carry these 200,000 tents !" and then adds, “but men are not usually trained to carry, goods upon their backs;" and again, “men will not do so if trained. scarcely realize that a grown up man, and one who has been abroad, has written so ridiculously. Were there no horses, camels, and asses (Exod. ix. 3) at the command of the people whom the Egyptians did all they could to hasten away? Had they no waggons (Numb. vii. 3) to carry tents, if men could not be trained to convey burdens? Has Dr. Colenso never heard that cotton bales are brought to the seaports of India on the backs of men ?
We are informed by Moses that at Succoth is the "place of booths,” the Israelites dwelt in booths (Lev. xxiii. 42, 43); and about a month after that there were tents among them (Exod. xvi. 16). These two perfectly consistent and possible statements are represented by Dr. Colenso as "strangely conflicting." That the majority of the people would at their first halt run up booths, is to us perfectly natural; that in the course of a month, a people possessing in their flocks and herds all the requisites for tents should provide themselves with such abodes is to us equally credible; but that there is any inconsistency in the two facts will appear only to a writer who, in his eagerness to undermine Christianity, seems to be totally indifferent to his own reputation.
The twelfth chapter is the last we can examine in this object is to show that as there was no known“ miraculous provision for the herds and the flocks” (p. 65), they must have perished through want of fodder. The difficulty naturally suggests itself, but it is aggravated by Dr. Colenso—" it is certain," he observes, " that the story represents them as possessing these flocks and herds during the whole of the forty years,”. &c. (p. 65). As remarked in our first article, when the Bishop is “certain," we may be sure he labours under a great mistake. The “story” shows that at starting (Exod. xii. 38), during the twelvemonths' stay at Sinai (Exod. xvii. 3 ; xxxiv. 3, &c.), and during the last six or nine months of the forty years (Numb. xxxi. 32-50, &c.), they possessed them in large numbers; but, except from Dr. Colenso's book, we know nothing of the extent of their bovine and other possessions. Till his “certainty” is endorsed by others, we need not trouble our. selves about the fodder question during thirty-eight out of the forty years. We can account for their large possessions at starting; and we know they were multiplied by capture at the close of their wanderings. But if Dr. Colenso's calculation of the slaughter of races at the Passover be correct (p. 58), and if his ideas of the sterility of Arabia Petrea in the time of Moses (pp. 65, 66), taken from a selection of modern travels, be sound, it follows that the Hebrews could not have continued to maintain such numerous herds and flocks; and Moses nowhere asserts they did.
The difficulty is, therefore, confined to the first and the last year of the wanderings. At the close they were in the region occupied
by the Midianites, and at the beginning in the territories roamed over by the Amalekites. Both these people were nomadic, and had cattle in large numbers; and what supported their flocks would afford subsistence to those of the Hebrews. This fact the Bishop tries to get over most disingenuously ; first, by asserting, contrary to known facts (Exod. xvii. 8; Numb. xxiv. 20; Judg. vii. 12), that the Amalekites were only an inconsiderable Arabian tribe (p. 74); secondly, by denying that the Amalekites "lived in the desert (p. 74), though on page 66 he represents them as near at hand during the whole period of the wandering; thirdly, by quoting Jer. ii . 6, to show that that could not have happened, which the prophet thankfully acknowledges as an unquestionable fact. We know that however sterile the Sinai region may now be, in the time of Moses there was there pasture for Jethro's sheep, which for forty years bis son-in-law fed and tended (Exod. iii. 1.). On the south. west of Sinai was Rephidim, which was entered by the Wady Feiran, which to this day is frequented by the Bedouins for pastùrage. Here and there in the desert of Sinai (Exod. xxxiv. 3), the flocks could find subsistence; and we find that until they came to the desert of Zin (Numb. xx. 1–4), the people found pasturage for such cattle and sheep as remained after the slaughter of the first passover at the foot of Sinai.
We have thus shown that the five chapters now examined are as full of confusion of ideas, misrepresentations of passages, distortion of facts, and illogical inferences, as the nine reviewed in the first article. There remain now seven chapters of the same description relating to the size of the tabernacle and of the camp; the difficulty of addressing the whole congregation; of priests performing their supposed duties; the war on Midian ; and the apprehended invasion of Palestine by wild beasts.
NEGATIVE ARTICLE.-II. The oft-discussed question of the harmony of science with the Scriptures; or, in other words, the authenticity of certain portions of the Bible as being intelligible and consistent historical narratives, must, for the present, be considered as unsettled. On this point the internal evidence of the biblical record itself, especially when taken in conjunction with many recently developed scientific truths, renders it impossible for us to accept, without serious inquiry, the numerous abnormal statements which have hitherto been accepted as having the authority of Divine inspiration for their promulgation. objection applies more particularly to the books of the Pentateuch, the Chronicles, and some others, less notable, and of subsequent date. And this discordance between modern scientific inductions and what is understood to be the genuine scriptural text, together with the whole question of the credibility of miracles, lie at the very threshold of the proposition before us.
But without disposing of the many serious doubts which are thus suggested, and by which we are beset ere commencing our inquiry,
and for the discussion of which no adequate amount of space can here be afforded—it becomes a matter of difficulty to approach the subjects under consideration in such a manner as to isolate them from the numerous questions by which they are surrounded, and 80 intimately involved. But the task has been most ably accom. plished by Dr. Colenso; who, while giving due credence to such statements and doctrines of the Pentateuch as commend themselves to the ear of reason and the eye of truth, when those faculties are honestly and intelligently exercised by that human mind to which they have been addressed for its enlightened acceptance, rejects as spurious or doubtful those records of circumstances which are both physically impossible in themselves, and in direct antagonism to the divine character. And the Pentateuch is full of these inconsistencies.
If there is one principle more indelibly impressed than another upon the broad universe above and around us, it is that of law-law unchangeable, eternal, and ever-acting. Even Omni. potence itself must be subject to law, — has voluntarily surrendered itself, when working at either its vast designs or most minute results, to those immutable laws which sprang into existence coeval with matter itself—" it knows no change or shadow of a turning.”. Effects and causes are indissolubly linked together, and those shallow superstitionists who would fain attempt to divorce the one from the other, and to place effect without its due natural cause, do but dupe themselves, and wrong the everlasting truth. The present, with all its multitudinous men, things, and circumstances, is as certainly and uniformly born of the past, as it is indubitable that the future will be the offspring of the present. A universal system of unvarying laws necessarily pervades all things, and has held its unvarying sway both in the past and present. The ceaseless rush of the millions of planets through infinite space is as assuredly the result of all-controlling law, as is the falling of an autumn leaf, which, in its gyration to the earth, obeys principles as inexorable as those which bind the universe together. And, therefore, to suppose that events have ever occurred, except in the natural order of cause and effect; that is to say, to assume that bonâ fide miracles have ever been enacted, appears to us to be tantamount to accepting a dilemma, by which it must be assumed, on the one hand, tbat the laws of Nature are not invariable ; or, on the other hand, that Omnipotence itself is changeable. But, really, the evidence in support of genuine supernatural results, particularly those of the Old Testament, is so extremely unsatisfactory when rigidly examined by the light of science and history, that they may fairly be dismissed on this ground alone, and without appealing to general principles for their extinction.* For, even admitting that the alleged miracles detailed in the Pen. tateuch are substantially founded on fact, but with a large addition
* See Macall “On Miracles," in the Propagandist, and elsewhere.
of Oriental colouring and exaggeration, we believe that it would be both more reasonable and more conducive to a general acceptance of the Scripture narratives, to refer them to exceptional, but at the same time natural causes, than to declare that they are the result of supernatural interference. If miracles were wrought in the past, why are they not also wrought in the present day? And when did they authentically cease? And why ? Surely if miracles were required in order " to be a sign to a regenerate people" thou. sands of years ago, it cannot be pretended that we also in the nineteenth century do not equally require a "sign "! Truly we are more "civilized” now than then ; though it is very questionable whether, on looking into it, it will not be found that the civilization has consisted simply of putting off one form of barbarism in order to make room for another. But certainly we have latterly advanced rapidly in that kind of civilization which makes us sceptical of "miracles.” When will the effete and dying Church of Rome cease to manufacture miracles for the edification of its “dear children "?
Now, in application of these general observations to the particular case before us, we have first to inquire on what grounds it is alleged that Moses was the author of the five books in question ? This is a point which M. H., in his affirmative article, has entirely ignored ; but E. H. K., on the contrary, has so far negatived it, that we shall now advert to it merely for the purpose of commenting upon the extreme improbability of an eye-witness committing so many glaring inconsistencies of statement as are to be found in the Mosaic narrative of even contemporary events. In fact, the whole history of the exodus and subsequent wanderings in the desert reads like a wonderful but ill-told romance, which is all the more unreal and inconsistent if it have emanated from an actual spectator and the chief actor in the events enumerated. The internal evidence against Moses having been the writer of this portion of the Pentateuch has thus been summed up by a recent reriewer in the Morning Post :
“ The exodus (says Dr. Colenso) seems to have been too gigantic to be true. There is a part of due proportion between the number of the sons of Jacob who went down to sojourn in Egypt, and the number of tbeir posterity at the exodus. Not only could there not have been two millions of Israelites in the time of Pharoah, but if there had been, they could not have been led by Moses, as it is said they were; could not have been provided with all the appliances that the case requires; could not have enough lambs for the Passover, nor the flocks which such lambs implies; nor could they have kept the Passover; nor spoilt the Egyptians; nor have been marshalled out of Egypt; nor have been armed; nor have bad tents, por have carried them if they had; nor have been able to take their cattle, nor to feed them if they had; nor have got across the Red Sea before they were overtaken by Pharaoh's host; nor have been dismayed at that host, seeing that their own armed men were 600,000, while the chariots of Egypt that pursued them were but 600, so that they were to their enemies as 1,000 to 1. Dr. Colenso cannot accept the story of an exodus of such dimensions."
Nor can we believe that the chief participator in the events thus detailed could have perpetrated such conflicting statements regarding them. But, moreover, the evidence respecting the authorship of the first of the fire books is entirely negative ; and it is as reasonable to suppose that the Pentateuch was compiled by the chronicler of the death of Moses, as that it was written by Moses himself. Indeed, as it appears that the balance of evidence is unfavourable to the assumption that this so-called historian was the recorder of bis alleged contemporary history, the supposition, that he was the author of anything at all prior to that of his own era, is still more improbable.
But with reference to the historical authenticity of the Pentateuch, the Bishop thus qualifies his remarks, a qualification which we do not wholly endorse, but which we here append, as M. H. has wholly confined himself to a narrow and unscrupulous attack upon the Bishop's “Critical Examination," without advancing any independent defence of his own orthodox position as affirmator :
“I wish to repeat here most distinctly that my reason for no longer receiving the Pentateuch as bistorically true, is not that I find insuperable difficulties with regard to the miracles, or supernatural revelations of Almighty God, recorded in it, but solely that I cannot, as a true man, consent any longer to shut my eyes to the absolute, palpable self-contradiction of the narrative. The notion of miraculous or supernatural interference does not present to my own mind the difficulties which it seems to present to some. I could believe and receive the miracles of Scripture heartily, if only they were authenticated by a veracious history; though, if this is not the case with the Pentateuch, any miracles which rest upon such unstable support must necessarily fall to the ground with it."— P. 10.
And the Doctor thus further epitomises the result of his investigation regarding the historical character of the Pentateuch generally:
“The result of my inquiry is this, that I have arrived at the conviction as painful to myself at first as it may be to my, reader, though painful now no longer under the clear shining of the Light of Truth-that the Pentateuch, as a whole, cannot possibly have been written by Moses, or by any one acquainted personally with the Mosaic narrative, by whomsoever written, and though imparting to us, as I fully believe it does, revelations of divine will and character, cannot be regarded as historically true.
"Let it be observed that I am not here speaking of a number of petty variations and contradictions, such as, on closer examination, are found to exist throughout the books, but which may be in many cases sufficiently explained, by alleging our ignorance of all the circumstances of the case, or by supposing some misplacement, or loss, or corruption, of the origioal manuscript, or by suggesting that a later writer has inserted his own gloss here and there, or even whole pasages, which may contain facts or expressions at variance with the true Mosaic Books, and throwing an unmerited suspicion upon them. However perplexing such contradictions are, when found in a book which is believed to be divinely infallible, yet a humble and pious faith will gladly welcome the aid of a friendly criticism, to relieve it in this way of its doubts. I can truly say that I would do so heartily myself. Nor are the difficulties, to which I am now referring, of the same kind as those which arise from considering the accounts of the Creation and the Deluge (though these of themselves are very formidable), or the stupendous character of certain miracles, as that of the sun and moon standing still-or the waters of